THE race for promotion in Division Three will go down to the wire next Saturday.
Wins for Harlow Town and Stanford-le-Hope put them into the two promotion slots.
Old Southendian & Southchurch are the only other team in the running and dropped from top to third after not having a game last Saturday.
Opening batsman Stephen Reeve scored seven, but Paul Tremain, Rob Zammit and Andy Prophet all went for ducks as Matthew Higgins (5-19) made early inroads.
Gavin Blowes scored 12 runs but Aaron Toner went for a single before Benfleet skipper James Wilkins (2) and Gareth Steed (34) formed a partnership to slow the attrition rate.
But after they went, Paul Frensham added nine runs before the innings finished at 77 all out after 32.3 overs, with Adam Knight (2-8), Ross Poulton (2-19) and Dylan Eginton (1-23) taking the other wickets.
Stanford openers Kevin Smith (26no) and Martin Leslie (48no) rattled off the runs as the visitors replied with 79-0 in 14.1 overs.
“It was a very good result,” said Stanford captain Lee Knight. “I’m very pleased that after having a week off we have come back to put in that performance.
“Everyone bowled really well, Matt took a wicket with his first ball to leave them 0-1. Everyone fielded well and we took our chances. Martin and Kevin put on a good partnership to get us to the target. They are mates off the pitch so will be pleased with that performance.”
Benfleet skipper James Wilkins said he hopes his team will give a more “respectable” performance at Old Brentwoods on Saturday.
“Stanford bowled well to be fair, but you do not get rolled for 77 and it not be partly your fault,” Wilkins said.
“We have only got ourselves to blame because it was an inept batting performance.
“Myself and Gareth Steed hung around in the middle and that was the only saving grace, but there’s no excuse for getting bowled out for 77.
“We bowled well, but our bowlers have been handicapped by the batters not performing.
“All I can hope for is next we we can finish the season on a bit more of a respectable note.”
Basildon & Pitsea’s losing streak continued after they succumbed to a 95-run defeat at home to Oaklfield Parkonians.
Luke Daw claimed 6-58 for Basildon, with Lloyd Lambert (2-50) and Dean Bedford (1-32) also getting among the wickets as Oakfield were bowled out for 236 in 51.5 overs.
Taaha Naqvi (61), Sachin Vara (57) and Vikram Handa (38) offered most resistance for the visitors.
But the men from Mopsies Park struggled with the bat and were bowled out for 141 in 38.5 overs, with only Kalai Selven (28), captain Michael Gray (26) and Bedford (15) the only batsmen into double figures.